LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) – Glenna Harkness has dedicated her professional life to serving others, but even in her personal life, she’s considered the glue that keeps her family together.
She is the program director for the Family Crisis Center of East Texas, which serves nine local counties by supporting survivors of family violence and sexual assault.
She’s been with the agency for a decade, guiding her team as they empower women to work through some of their darkest days.
“Everyone we see has gone through a traumatic situation. So, what is it going to take to move them forward?” Harkness said.
Working through counseling, finding a safe place to stay or legal advocacy, the center provides it all, and Harkness gives her all. She’s usually on call 24/7 to lead her team.
“As a good supervisor, you have to make yourself available or you’re not relatable,” Harkness said.
Harkness has experience with helping people get through traumatic situations. Previously, she worked with the Red Cross for 12 years, providing comfort during major tragedies like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
The 9/11 attacks on America claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people, injuring thousands more. Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane that flooded 80% of New Orleans, created a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, killing 1,392 people. The most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Rita, made landfall on the Texas-Louisiana border and killed killed 120.
“This area is a hub to receive hurricane evacuees, so we had large numbers during Rita,” Harkness said.
Through her decades of service, Harkness said the golden rule of the non-profit world is simple: “The client always comes first. Everything else kind of has to take a backseat to the client.”
In her personal life, she puts her family first. Her sister said that, though Glenna is the little sister, the family looks to her to lead.
Harkness said being together as a family is important, enjoying her moments at home, surrounded by 12 acres of peaceful property.
“I want everybody to come and be able to have that bonfire and have everybody together,” Harkness said. “Our children are no longer babies, but they still sleep on the couch.”
The theme of togetherness weaves through all aspects of this remarkable woman’s life, though it’s a title she humbly denies, telling KETK that she doesn’t consider herself remarkable.
“I don’t think I do anything by myself,” she said. “It takes a team to make it happen.”
As she leads that team and her family, she gives credit and shows gratitude along the way. It’s what makes Glenna Harkness truly remarkable in the eyes of so many.